How to help your child to study – a guide

Did you know that helping your child with homework can have long lasting positive effects for your child and you, beyond completing the homework task?

Learning can only happen when a person is focused, motivated and comfortable. You are probably already doing a lot of things you need to do to help your child with their homework.

Follow this guide and your efforts will go a long way to helping your child to be a great learner.

Feed them

Making sure that your children have eaten well before they start to learn is really important. Trying to learn something on an empty stomach makes it hard to concentrate and slows down the brain. This can lead to frustration and loss of confidence, if things aren’t going well.

Make sure they’re getting enough sleep.

This is just as important as food. Getting a good amount of sleep at the right time, improves memory, test scores and confidence. Trying to learn too close to bedtime is also a bad idea as it might make some children too stimulated to settle down for a refreshing sleep, no matter their age. 

Remove distractions

This can be lots of things. We know how hard it can be to do more than one thing at a time. It is even harder for children. Trying to learn whilst there is a TV, radio or other noisy distraction taking away their attention makes learning almost impossible. You may need to take away toys, books or games away from where your child is learning because even the sight of the distraction may be as bad as the noise.

Keep them close

Sometimes having a separate study area away from all distractions can feel like a punishment. It can feel isolating or even more distracting than studying with company. Your child might prefer to be near you whilst they study and you can keep an eye on them at the same time.

Set time limits

Concentrating on something for a short time is better than spending a long time not getting very far. Agree with your child how long the learning or studying session will be and ask them to really concentrate on the learning for that time. For younger children up to 7 years of age, 15 to 20 minutes may be the longest that they can learn for. Older children you can expect 30 to 45 minutes of focus. Secondary age children will need to spend longer learning but make sure they take breaks away from their desk for at least 5 minutes in every 45 minutes learning block.

Be their motivation

Learning can feel hard which makes us want to avoid doing it. If you and your child agree that they will learn for 15 minutes, let them know that there is no getting out of it.

Let them do it on their own

You can spend the time before the learning explaining what is needed from the task, how to do it and what to focus on, but the actual work has to be done by the child. This is a wonderful opportunity for a child to feel pride, sense of accomplishment and confidence in their own abilities.

Praise effort not results

Did you know rewarding or praising your child for trying makes them want to try harder to get more praise? Praise is also a type of reward. Sitting down, concentrating and trying to learn are really important skills for success and we want to teach them these skills so they can become confident learners.

Reward hard work

If you are going to be rewarded for a job, you are more likely to want to do it. The same is true for children. A reward can be a good motivator to learn and encourages your child to finish a hard task. Remember it is not a bribe if you plan the reward ahead of the task you want your child to complete. 

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